Effect of direct versus indirect bonding technique on the failure rate of mandibular fixed retainer-A systematic review and meta-analysis

Document Type

Review Article


Dental-oral, Maxillo-facial Surgery


Introduction: Fixed retainer failure is a common cause of relapse and may require additional orthodontic treatment. The two main methods for bonding the mandibular fixed retainer include direct and indirect techniques. This topic has not been explored previously in a systematic review. Therefore, the objective of this systematic review was to evaluate the effect of direct versus indirect bonding technique on the failure rate of mandibular fixed retainer.
Methods: Online databases (PubMed, Dental and Oral Science, CINAHL, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Scopus) were systematically searched electronically for articles up until April 2021. Google Scholar and clinicaltrials.gov databases were utilized for hand searching. Randomized, non-randomized clinical trials and cohort studies on human subjects were considered regardless of language or year of publication. Orthodontic patients in their retention phase (mandibular 3×3 fixed retainer), in which the retainer was bonded using direct bonding technique as control and indirect as intervention were included. The outcome assessed was retainer failure rate. Two authors independently examined and extracted the data from the studies that satisfied the inclusion criteria. Risk of bias in clinical trials was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration's tool, whereas risk of bias in cohort studies was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. The meta-analysis was conducted using the RevMan software V. The outcome was estimated using weighted average difference and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). The studies' heterogeneity was assessed using Cochrane's heterogeneity test (I2 Test).
Results: Four articles fulfilling the inclusion criteria were included in qualitative and quantitative synthesis. Retainer failure rates were analysed in a total number of 266 patients bonded with mandibular 3×3 retainers after orthodontic therapy. Direct bonding technique of fixed retainer on 131 patients was compared with indirect technique on 135 patients. There was no statistically significant difference in the rate of retainer failure between the two methods (95% CI, 0.67, 1.40).
Conclusions: Within the limitations of insufficient evidence this systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that there is no difference in the failure rate of mandibular fixed retainers between direct and indirect bonding techniques. Due to the scarcity of available data, further studies are needed to establish definitively one's clinical benefit over the other.


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International Orthodontics